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The Thunderbolt Division - post 348TW
Background The Thunderbolt Division was formed in 326TW from the remnants of the losing half of a civil war. For seven years, Antargra, a large, productive world on the borders of the Gorgon Cluster, was locked into an internal struggle and - after the final destructive siege of the capital Triere - the remains of of Antargra's standing army of the northern forces finally admitted defeat. Although it was a conditional surrender, one of the agreed prerequisites was the disbanding of the northern Antargran army. Many of the men and women under arms did lay their equipment aside but one division - the 42nd or 'Thunderbolts' - could not bring themselves to do so. As a compromise, they agreed, as a unit, to ship off planet but, as part of the treaties that their commanders signed, they did so with little equipment and almost none of their vehicles. Their commander at the time, General Fredrick, had plans to set up the Thunderbolts as a mercenary company and - after some negotiation - his ambitions were realised. Initially, times were hard: with little gear, the Division's margins were small as they had to take mostly 'advisory' work - and, as the losers in a civil war, they found their advice wasn't worth much. In 329 General Fredrick, along with a number of officers and men from the Thunderbolt Division, was killed when caught in an uprising on Helmstadt and his replacement, Colonel Ernst Chirho, took a more aggressive stance towards the promotion of the outfit of which he had inherited command. Chirho contacted the government of Antargra - the very people that had, effectively, placed him in the position of mercenary commander by beating his troops in the civil war. Signing an opportunistic deal for equipment supply on lease from several major manufacturers, Chirho gained himself access to some ex-civil war equipment. None of the heavier vehicles - the tracked panzers of his old division - were available to Chirho (his erstwhile enemies certainly feared the Thunderbolts returning to Antargran to settle scores…) but the government did allow the release of some lighter AFVs. Chirho had personally used a number of wheeled and half-tracked command vehicles in his southern desert campaign, before he was pushed north of the Antargran equator, and had seen that, in the right terrain and circumstances - and with the right men - lighter vehicles could be made to work effectively. Colonel Chirho (he never promoted himself to 'General', despite taking over the reins of command from General Fredrick) was determined to shape the Thunderbolt Division into a light, flexible attack force of the sort he had employed himself on the hot Antargran sands.